Ross Mackenzie

Reviewing some recent highs and lows in the news...

Tree people long have known that despite the preaching of environmental extremists, unmanaged forests where loggers do not go are invitations to fire. How sad that it required the California holocaust (800,000 acres, 3,000 houses and billions of dollars in property - all lost) to convince the Senate to get moving on President Bush's healthy-forest initiative calling for expedited tree-thinning on 20 million acres of federal forests. Says a chastened (mugged-by-reality?) Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California: There is a tremendous lesson in these fires - that the land has to be managed.

Otherwise unchastened leftie senators are continuing to hold presidential judicial nominations hostage to ideology. Last week, they "borked" (refused to confirm) four moderate nominees deemed too extreme. One is Janice Rogers Brown, the first African-American elected (by the people, most recently carrying 76 percent of the vote) to the California Supreme Court. Judge Brown's disqualifier for a seat on the appellate court for the District of Columbia? Some of her California court opinions deviate from acceptable, politically correct, Democratic dogma.

In their effort to unseat President Bush, the Democrats are sharpening their knives. Last week Wesley Clark, in the words of a headline, placed "Responsibility for 9/11 at Bush's Feet." And Al Sharpton went after fellow Democrat Howard Dean - terming his agenda "anti-black."

In Iraq, these things: (1) The 233 attacks in but a single week, mostly on Americans, have driven the guerrilla-war death toll (President Bush declared combat over on May 1) past the number of Americans killed in the period of formal combat.

(2) Among the dead: the fourth woman in the U.S. military to be killed in Iraq. Question: If even Israel now is barring nearly all women from combat positions, why does the United States insistently push them into harm's way?

(3) The Pentagon is notifying more National Guard and Reserve forces they may be called to serve in Iraq next year - given the thin ranks of active-duty troops. Question: Why is the Bush administration delaying in advocating one year of compulsory universal service - with a front-end military component - for all men and women 18 to 23?

Are the suicide bombings against (principally) Americans in Iraq inspiring Americans here to sympathize more with innocent Israelis so often targeted by Palestinian suicidists?

The accelerated targeting of Americans emphasizes nothing quite so much as the foremost objective of the allied enterprise in Iraq - to get Saddam.

Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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